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Philippines: Killing migratory birds can worsen bird flu outbreak

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MANILA The Philippines yesterday warned citizens not to kill or poach migratory birds that usually fly in from China to avoid worsening the situation.

The birds are the possible source of a virus that triggered the nation's first outbreak of avian flu. There has been no cases of human transmission but the virus prompted a cull of 200,000 birds last week after it was detected on a farm in the province of Pampanga, north of the capital Manila, and spread to five neighbouring farms.

Ducks smuggled from China may have also brought in the virus, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol has said.

Ms Mundita Lim, director of the Biodiversity Management Bureau, said in an advisory: "The culling, poisoning or chasing of migratory birds is strongly discouraged as they have proven ineffective and counterproductive."

Sick or dead wild birds should immediately be reported to the Department of Agriculture, Ms Lim said, urging breeders in areas frequented by migratory birds to guard their flocks.- AFP

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